sat 18/05/2024

Shakespeare

Twelfth Night, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - burlesque overwhelms the darker notes in this mixed revival

In Shakespeare's day theatre was regarded as "wanton" by those of a Puritan disposition who feared boys dressed as girls could engender wicked thoughts of same-sex love in players and audience. But such ideas are, of course, part of the story,...

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The Merchant of Venice 1936, Criterion Theatre review - radical revamp with a passionate agenda

It’s an unhappy time to be staging Shakespeare’s problematic play, given its antisemitic content, so hats off to adaptor-director Brigid Larmour and actor Tracy-Ann Oberman for persevering with this updated version, now in the West End. Their...

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Othello, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - 21st century interpretation delivers food for thought

Detective Chief Inspector Othello leads a quasi-paramilitary team of Metropolitan Police officers investigating gang activity in Docklands. With a chequered past now behind him, he has reformed and has the respect of both the team he leads and his...

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Richard Schoch: Shakespeare's House review - nothing ill in such a temple

Richard Schoch, in the subtitle of his new book on Shakespeare’s House, promises something big: “a window onto his life and legacy.” To the disgruntled reader – pushed to the brink by one too many new books on Shakespeare, each nervously...

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Powell and Pressburger: In Prospero's Room

There’s a thread of bright magic running through British cinema, from Powell and Pressburger through Nic Roeg, Derek Jarman and Lynne Ramsay, and it’s wrapped around Jarman’s last home like fisherman’s rope.His friend and collaborator Tilda Swinton...

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Macbeth, The Depot, Liverpool review - Ralph Fiennes leads a conventional production in an unconventional space

Next door to the beautiful Art Deco Littlewoods Pools Building, nearly 30 years standing derelict, a set of grey sheds stand, a seat of potential for Liverpool’s nascent film industry. Nearly a century ago, the long, white, towered construction in...

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Shakespeare: Rise of a Genius, BBC Two review - the Bard's soul bared in hybrid drama-documentary

Four centuries on from the publication of the First Folio, is there anything new to be said about William Shakespeare? Well, the fact that there is nothing old to be said about him (very little is known about the life of the glover’s son from...

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King Lear, Wyndham's Theatre review - Kenneth Branagh helms a pared-down tragedy

Few would have imagined that Kenneth Branagh’s return to the West End would see him garbed in fur-lined, prehistoric clothes. But this is how he takes on the gargantuan role of King Lear, in a compact, fast-paced production of Shakespeare’s great...

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Hamnet, Garrick Theatre review - conventional adaptation of the bestseller drains its poetry away

The RSC apparently has a hit on its hands with its West End transfer of Hamnet. Box office demand has already prompted an extension of the run by six weeks, until February 2024.The draw is presumably the bestselling 2020 novel by Maggie O’Farrell on...

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Othello, Riverside Studios review - three Iagos pitch Shakespeare's villain into the 21st century

Shakespeare gives Iago over 1000 lines to implant the jealous rage in Othello, so there’s plenty to of raw material to work with. The director Sinéad Rushe has had the idea to split these weaselly words between three actors, a device that seems so...

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As You Like It, Shakespeare's Globe review - vibrant, ebullient fun in a forest where anything goes

To proclaim that you’re playing gender games with Shakespeare’s As You Like It seems a little like announcing that you have a bicycle with two wheels, or indeed that you’re doing something interesting with rhythms in Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.Let’...

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Macbeth, Shakespeare's Globe review - uneven production of intermittent power

That Shakespeare speaks to his audiences anew with every production is a cliché, but, like so many such, the glib blandness of the assertion conceals an insistent truth. The Thane of Glamis has had some success in life, gains preferment from those...

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